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Learn to speak real French! (Collection of French elisions)

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In spoken French, sounds are often omitted that would be said in careful speech. This is something foreigners often neglect as they learn from text and because, wanting to sound correct, they sound "too" correct and unnatural. This phenomenon is called an elision and I'll be collecting those I notice here.

  • tu vois ce que je veux dire ?t'vois c'qu'j'veux dire ?
  • Je ferai un domaineJe f'rai un domaine (Ne me quitte pas, Jacques Brel)
  • In normal speech, we pronounce "ferai" as a single syllable: "frai" [fʁe].

    I'll use Jacques Brel as an example. In this version of Ne me quitte pas (at 1:16), that's what he's doing. In this other version of Ne me quitte pas (at 1:08), a younger Jacques Brel articulates slightly more (and it's as if there was a teeny weeny tiny [ə] sound – a shadow sound), but even then it's much closer to a one-syllable pronunciation than two syllables.

    What I find interesting (and noticed while working on my American accent and listening to that song) is that this is something foreigners miss... even singers (and singers have a good ear.) In versions by Nina Simone, as well as some Brazilians, they go for a more artificial "fe–rai" and it just sounds off.

    Now, don't get me wrong: the French also do pronounce it as /fə.ʁe/, but it's something we do only if we need to insist (if you need to repeat yourself, in a noisy setting, etc.)

    Bottom-line is the more natural pronunciation is [fʁe] and this is what you'll want to use if you're learning French and want to sound natural.

  • Où est-ce que ça se branche ?W'est-ce que ça s'branche?
  • S'il te plaît ⇒ S'teu plaît.
  • C'est du propre ! ⇒ C'est du prop' !
  • cheval, cheveux
  • Ça m'fait penser qu'i' m'en reste

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I'm collecting these notes to help me observe how spoken language really works, to help me in teaching English to a global audience and for my own accent work, trying to pick up an American accent.